There is a decided difference between designing a space and defining it. The latter is not just about packaging, but also about content. This is one of the many similarities between designing a golf clubhouse and a hotel. The lessons learned in the arena of golf clubhouse design often translate to other hospitality spaces and vice-versa. Below are some considerations designers need to take into account whether they are working with a golf clubhouse, hotel or a variety of other hospitality spaces.
Space planning is an “inside-out” (interior design-based) design approach toward developing the best arrangement, scale and proportion for interior spaces. A successful “space planning” endeavor carefully considers the human element of how each interior space is intended to serve and engage a customer. What is a room’s purpose? What are the critical sightlines to maintain or avoid? How can the space best serve operational efficiencies? What are the visual interest anchors of the room? What is the desired level of interior design engagement with the customers?
Once these issues are determined, a layout and arrangement of furnishings is created. This arrangement determines the proper size, scale and proportion of each room. The proper adjacency is also evaluated to best serve operational efficiencies and emotionally engage the customer. Successful space planning maximizes effective use of square footage, resulting in a structure that is properly sized, cost-effective to maintain and staff, and capable of generating significantly more revenue. How many times do you hear the words “over-built” cited with hospitality spaces? Owners and operators who engage the interior design and space planning processes in concert with the architectural program can avoid this costly conundrum.
Avoid Trends & Fads
The beat poet Jack Kerouac had it right: “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
During the design process, golf clubs and hotels can dress up spaces without risking a design that’s too trendy, and thus quickly outdated. There are several steps that hospitality spaces can take to avoid falling into the trap of trendy design. Anchor the interior with key architectural details that can easily carry throughout the structure - such as paneling, columns, ceiling treatments, timbers and beams. Accent the room with custom furniture and fixtures that speak to the brand and character of the establishment. These intimate details are evergreen and become lasting focal points as the establishment ages.
To give character to the room, style it with pictures, rugs, décor and other adornments that can easily -- and cost effectively – change as styles evolve. This approach makes for easier updates and renovations, while the interior architecture installs itself as permanent character elements.
Creating Interaction is Key
Whether it is in the clubhouse or the hotel lobby, creating interaction is key to any hospitality space’s success.
From a golfer standpoint, good design is memorable, possesses character, creates a sense of place and time, and encourages people to engage one another. From the members’ viewpoint, good design creates an emotional connection that helps them feel at ease, like they were bringing friends and family to a “second home.”
In a major (yet subtle) demographic twist in the hotel industry, today’s business traveler is more likely to be Generation X or Y than baby boomer. The way these 25- to 40-year-olds perceive public space is dramatically different than older travelers (who used to seek privacy even in public spaces). They tend to be more social and prefer more open and inviting spaces to spend their time.
With that in mind, open spaces can pull an entire room together, while offering patrons immediate access to the reception area, restaurant/bar, spa and fitness centers. High ceilings and wide-open rooms with no separation are ideal. The space creates energy and community, which enables people to linger within the space, increasing money spent on food and beverage, merchandise and gifts.
Time to go High-Tech
In the hotel industry, using advanced technology isn’t a new design concept for guest rooms at many high-end and boutique hotel properties. Amenities such as headboard-embedded speakers, adjustable lighting, and iPod and MP3 docking stations are common.
Yet, this same attention to technological detail is often overlooked in designing the public spaces in both clubhouses and hotels. Incorporating top-of-the-line electronics in the lobby, reception areas, bar/restaurant and fitness facilities creates a superior experience that builds brand loyalty among tech-savvy, Gen-X and Gen-Y travelers and members. Access to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) or secure networks can also be a deciding factor for event planners selecting a property for corporate retreats and large meetings.
Tom Hoch is the President of Tom Hoch Design, a leading design-build firm based in Oklahoma City. Founded in 1963 by his parents Tom (senior) and Joanne Hoch, Tom Hoch Design specializes in club, resort, hotel, restaurant and recreational spaces. Tom Hoch Design has revolutionized the category via its “revenue-based design” model, a space planning, sizing and mapping process for retail-driven spaces such as golf shops and food and beverage operations. For more information visit www.tomhoch.com
or (405) 524.0505.